Four shelter residents have been referred to the hospital following screening for tuberculosis (TB), which yielded abnormal results, Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands has confirmed.
A 15-year-old staying at the Kendal G. L. Isaacs National Gymnasium, one of the shelters being used to house victims of Hurricane Dorian, tested positive for TB last month.
Sands previously said that “as per protocol, all exposures will be tested” and recently dismissed international claims of an outbreak of the disease.
“In summary, the evaluation has yielded four persons who will have further studies to determine the cause of their abnormal X-ray,” Sands told The Nassau Guardian recently.
“While imaged because of a positive mantoux, they require further investigation and have not yet been determined to have active TB.”
He added, “There are nine abnormal X-rays. Of the abnormal X-rays, only four were deemed necessary to be referred to hospital after discussions between public health experts and hospital staff.
“These four persons with abnormal X-rays have a variety of issues to be further evaluated and may have pneumonia, TB, chest masses or infiltrates, interstitial lung disease or other pathologies.
“The other five persons with abnormal X-rays will be treated with antibiotics for pneumonia and also followed in TB clinic to ensure resolution.
“The remaining 54 (positive mantoux, negative chest X-ray (CXR)) will commence prophylaxis for latent TB and follow up at TB and pediatric clinics. They are noninfectious and have been exposed to TB at some point in their lives – not necessarily from this index case.”
In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, there were 10 government-approved shelters on New Providence, however, these were consolidated into just two as the number of residents continued to dwindle, according to the Ministry of Social Services.
Minister of Social Services Frankie Campbell said in November that the ministry hoped to have all of the shelters incrementally deactivated by the end of December, however, Deputy Director of Social Services Kim Sawyer later said that the residents would be allowed to stay through the holiday season after all.
Campbell has since told reporters he is “not aware of a deadline” for the shelters closing.
“I’m not aware of a deadline,” he said. “I remember hoping that we would have been able to deactivate the shelters by Christmas. That didn’t happen, because as long as there’s people who need to be sheltered, we are obliged to provide those shelters.”
As of the beginning of this month, according to Campbell, there were 438 people remaining in the two shelters on New Providence: 108 at Bahamas Academy and 330 at the Kendal G. L. Isaacs Gymnasium.